England, UK, Wanderlust

Family day out: Longdown Farm, New Forest

I think I’ve been to as many farms in the last year or two as in the last decade. One toddler plus the promise of fluffy animals (and the occasional alarming turkey) means that a day out on a farm is a huge hit.

My husband carries our toddler daughter on his shoulder around Longdown Farm in the New Forest - my review of our day out at Longdown Farm New Forest
review visit*

So while we were staying in the New Forest, we headed over to Longdown Farm for a morning visit before our cycle ride in the afternoon.

With activities throughout the day, as well as the chance to cuddle a few small animals, I was impressed by how much there seemed to be. And despite the number of families turning out on a mostly sunny Sunday morning, the farm never seemed too busy.

First… the fluffy and furry inhabitants. We turned up just in time for calf feeding, and fitted in bottle-feeding a kid later on (who knew baby goats could wag their little tails in excitement?).

But throughout the day, there was the chance to wander round and see the various animals in their pens – from horses, ponies, pigs and goats down to newborn chicks, newly weaned rabbits, guinea pigs and ducks.

And even more fun was the Baby Animal Encounter – being able to hold and pet some of the baby animals.

A tiny chick cradled very gently in Minnie’s equally tiny hands, although I did have to dissuade her from ‘playing’ with its wing.

Then I gave the bunny’s incredibly soft fur a stroke when Minnie decided she’d rather head back outside again. Depending when you visit, there’s sometimes piglets around too.

The staff were always on hand, keeping a close eye on the animals, although frankly the rabbit seemed only too pleased by this succession of new friends.

Between all of this were the play areas, cleverly designed for different weather and ages. An indoor barn had a small slide among the hay bales with trampolines in another, while an outdoor area had another slide and swings, plus climbing areas.

Then there were mini cars to push around or pedal go karts for older ones.

That kept us so busy, we didn’t even make it into the soft play, where they were also doing face painting. I may accidentally have blocked Minnie’s view, admittedly…

My toddler daughter on one of the push along car toys at Longdown Farm

If lunchtime and our appointment with those bikes hadn’t called, I suspect we could have spent a lot longer than a couple of hours on the farm too.

One last bonus? The Farm Shop, which had some phenomenally good pies, plus the kind of cakes and condiments which make me want to entirely restock my cupboards (including, pleasingly, some from the Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight).

Need to know: Longdown Farm New Forest

Admission costs £10.25 for adults, £9.25 for children aged three to 14, while under-threes go free. Family and season tickets are also available and there’s a discount for buying online – see the site for details.

The farm is open from 10am to 5pm between February and September, and until 4.30pm in October and November, with last entry one hour before closing. The Christmas barn is open from late November to December.

My daughter walks over the hay in the indoor play area at Longdown Farm

There is a small tea room selling snacks, sandwiches and cakes, which can warm babies’ bottles and food, plus a kiosk during peak season serving drinks and ice creams. There are picnic tables near the outdoor play area as well as well as near the tea room.

Helpfully the farm also has plenty of areas to wash your hands after being near the animals as well as in the toilets.

For more things to do in Hampshire with kids, check out my top days out

Disclosure: Entry for my family was free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions, including those about pies, are my own.

Images copyright MummyTravels